Eastern Express 23.11

Turkey appears keen on stepping up its military activities against Kurdish forces in Syria and Iraq after the Istanbul bombing of November 13, 2022, which is what this edition of Eastern Express focuses on.

Following the Istanbul bombing of November 13, 2022, Turkey blamed the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the People's Self-Defense Units (YPG), for the attack. On the night of November 18 into 19, the Turkish air force carried out airstrikes in the northern regions of Syria and Iraq, targeting the military formations of both of these Kurdish groups. On Tuesday, the Turkish president had more breaking news, announcing Ankara is ready to send ground forces to tackle the Kurds.

On Saturday night, as part of Operation “Night Claw”, Turkey conducted airstrikes in the northern regions of Syria and Iraq, targeting Kurdish militants. 89 targets were shelled, including shelters and ammunition depots, and 11 people, including civilians, were killed.

On Monday, five shells fired from northern Syria hit the Karkemish district of Gaziantep province in northern Turkey.

Turkish authorities reported that Kurdish militants were behind the attack, which left three people dead. On Tuesday, in retaliation, Turkish President Erdogan announced the launch of ground operations against Kurdish forces described as terrorist organizations to take place as soon as possible.

In addition to Turkey, the European Union, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada, among other countries, consider the PKK a terrorist organization.

Ankara and Washington, however, have different attitudes toward the YPG; its fighters have cooperated with the United States in the fight against the jihadist Islamic State in Syria, while Turkey considers the group an extension of the PKK. This party, which has been outlawed by Turkish authorities, has been waging armed operations against the government in Ankara since 1984.

Since then, tens of thousands of people have been killed in the Turkish-Kurdish conflict. A peace process initiated in 2013 has failed to settle the situation, but the intensity of fighting has remained relatively low in recent years. Unfortunately, if we are to believe President Erdogan’s words, that is about to change.

TVP World invited Konrad Zasztowt of the Faculty of Oriental Studies at the University of Warsaw to shed more light on the developments. To watch the interview, click the video above.